Bel and Phil's Adventures

Our adventures through Europe, America and Asia

Posts from the ‘Ireland’ category

Dublin, Ireland

Friday 27thJuly 2018

We are leaving Northern Ireland and the UK this morning and travelling to Dublin. We are having a lazy morning – which is desperately needed after our late finish last night. We didn’t get back to the hotel until midnight. It was worth it because we got to see some much more of Northern Ireland and take amazing photos.

Check out of the Hilton in Belfast was midday which was perfect as our train was leaving Belfast station at 12:30pm.

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The view from our room at the Hilton Belfast

We went for a walk in the morning to find where the train station was and what we needed to do. It is so close! It is quicker to walk than get a taxi.

We got on the train without any problems and really enjoyed this trip. We had paid for first class tickets and we were very pleased with the service and the journey.

We got to my sister’s and her husband’s house and relaxed for a while. We went out for dinner tonight as it was the night before her birthday. We went to a lovely restaurant. Mum had a great time too.

Saturday 28thJuly 2018

It’s my sister’s birthday today. She had planned to go on a nice walk this morning, alas normal Dublin summer weather had returned, so we went with Plan B. She had been looking to get a bird bath for her back yard so we checked out some reclamation places (things that sell 2ndhand / reclaimed pieces). The first place we tried had some lovely things, but nothing that would suffice as a bird bath. The second place was really cool and we found something that would work.

 

We headed back to their place, after stopping to get some groceries and getting my fringe trimmed. It was driving me crazy. Phil helped to put the bird bath in its spot. We had some time to relax after lunch so we worked on the blog and editing photos. My sister’s parents in law were also coming for dinner. All of the vegetables that we ate for the meal came out of Megan’s garden. It was a really delicious meal. Noelle (my sister’s mother in law) made a beautiful lemon tart for dessert. It was a fabulous meal with lovely company.

Sunday 29thJuly 2018

Today we are off to a garden show. Sadly, once again we have typical Dublin summer weather- wet and a little misty. Not what I would call summer weather. We found the garden show – the only show that the Royal Horticultural society run outside of Britain. It was more different stalls selling plant / garden related items along with some lectures about different things. Megan, her husband and Mum went into one of the lectures on growing cut flowers in Ireland. Phil and I went for a walk and ended up in the tea room. It was nice and cosy in there. After a hot chocolate and a cup of coffee, we checked out the garden stalls.

 

After we had finished here, we headed over to Larry and Noelle’s house. They had organised a late lunch for us with all of their family. It was so beautiful. They have such a lovely family. It was nice to see all of Paul’s family again. The last time that we had seen them was at the wedding. The semi final between Leceister and Cork was being played in hurling. We ended up watching the final 15 minutes – which then went into extra time. It was a really interesting game which we both enjoyed. It helped that Paul’s brother and sister were so patient in explaining the rules and what was happening. We had a great time here and were sad to leave.

 

We headed back to Dublin and got organised ready to fly off to Zurich tomorrow. Mum has changed her plans and is now not going home tomorrow when we leave but has extended her trip to Saturday.

Ireland, Dublin Tuesday 12th June

After our massive day yesterday, there were still a few things that we wanted to do. We had planned on trying to get to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Unfortunately due to a drink being spilt all over Belinda at the pub, we needed to get some washing done before leaving this morning. This is getting moved to things to do next time in Dublin.

We ended up getting a cab again over to O’Connell Street. We wanted to go on the South side walking tour. We went with the same company that we had done the North side with yesterday. Our tour guide was Peter and he spoke very clearly. We headed down O’Connell Street and he explained how the statue of O’Connell on the intersection was not destroyed in the 1916 uprising, but sustained damage from bullets during that rebellion.

We then crossed the River Liffey and he explained that the government won’t allow any building over 6 storeys, so there aren’t any high rise offices or hotels. It helps to contribute to that quaint old fashioned European town. We had a look at some of the Georgian architecture on the South side.

We then headed into The Temple Bar area. This was an area I was eager to explore. Peter explained that there were plans to build a bus depot in the 1970’s and a company started purchasing land to put the plan in motion. Then, due to the creative people that had rented the shops in the area, the area became a cultural quarter in the 1980’s, so the government decided not to proceed with the bus depot, thankfully. It was initially built as merchant’s quarters and shops when customs house was nearby, then custom’s house was moved to the north side and further down the Liffey. It was really pretty and I enjoyed looking through this area.

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Temple Bar area looking north

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Close up of the shop signs in The Temple Bar area

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Streets around The Temple Bar

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Gorgeous flowers around The Temple Bar

After having a ‘coffee break’ (Diet Coke for Bel), we had some small time to explore this area independently. We continued with the tour up to Dublin Castle. We decided to leave the tour at the Castle as Phil wanted to get back to the Post Office to see the exhibition on the 1916 uprising. We wandered back through the Temple Bar area and crossed the River Liffey on the Ha’penny bridge.

We went to the GPO and paid the entrance fee of 16 Euros for the two of us. This was really informative and we could have spent longer in there, however time was ticking. I really enjoyed the video presentation that played within the exhibition, bringing the time and characters to life. It really gave a fabulous overview of the situation, told through the eyes of Peter Connolly. Phil liked the whole thing.

We were getting really hungry by now and so looked for somewhere to eat. We found Flanagan’s, an old Irish cafe on O’Connell Street. It was perfect. Phil had steak and I had a Chicken Kiev. It was delicious and the service was amazing.

We then got into a cab and went to Kilmainham Gaol where we had tickets for an afternoon tour. We got there in perfect time and joined the tour. This is the gaol that the people responsible for the 1916 uprising were executed. We also learnt that this was the gaol that the convicts being sent to Australia were held, prior to transportation.

This gaol worked on the concept of silence, separation and supervision. Due to the Irish being under British rule, there were many political prisoners held here over the years, some who, when independence was granted in 1922, went on to have long political careers. It was interesting.

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Old section of the gaol

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Looking into the East wing

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Building from the courtyard

After this tour, we caught a cab back to Megan and Paul’s house. We were shattered! Over the last 4 days we calculated that we had walked over 34 kilometres. Our poor feet!

Megan and Paul cooked us a delicious dinner and then we needed to pack as we had a VERY early morning flight the next morning to Pisa, Italy. The taxi was coming to pick us up at 3:45 am!!!!!!!

We have really enjoyed exploring Dublin and look forward to coming back again. Unfortunately we didn’t find any leprechauns, although we looked, except for the souvenir shops. Luckily for us, we had great weather, with no rain. No rain meant no rainbows to look for the leprechauns with their pots of gold.

 

Ireland, Dublin Monday 11th June

Wow! What a whirlwind. We started out on Monday at the Dublin Castle tour. We did cheat a little and get a cab into Dublin as we wanted to be at the Castle as close to 10am as possible. We got there just after 10, and went on the 10:15 am tour. It was a brief tour, however we got to see the different sections of one of the towers, including going underground to see some old entrances, and the different layers of the building from Viking times through to the British occupation. After this interesting section, we then ventured into the church attached to the castle. In here were plaques for all of the Lord Mayors (I think that is what they were called) and their coats of arms. It was very peaceful.

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The church attached to the remaining original tower at Dublin Castle

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The organ in the church – which no longer works

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Crests and names of Lord Mayors (and St Patrick so the bishop could sit there)

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The detail on the ceiling of this church.

After the chapel we headed up into the ‘State Rooms’. Our tour guide explained that a castle was built for defence, whilst a palace was built for entertainment. We then were able to look through the rooms that are now used for ceremonial purposes.

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The drawing room in the State rooms

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The dining room set for a banquet

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The flags and ceiling in the ball room – now used for important ceremonial occasions.

At the conclusion of the tour, we had decided to go to the Guinness Storehouse Tour. Luckily for us, we walked out of the Castle, waited about 5 minutes and along came a Hop On Hop Off bus (which we still had our ticket for from yesterday) going express to the Guinness Storehouse! Winners! We got onto the bus and arrived there in no time. The Guinness tour was 25 Euros each – so one of the most expensive tours we did in Dublin. It was informative and also included a pint of Guinness at the end. It was self-directed and really explained the process of making beer. I found it interesting, although I’m not sure it was worth the price that is charged. I did actually taste it. They had a tasting room where you could taste an 1/8 of a pint, so I tried it. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be, however I chose not to have a pint of it at the end. We ended up having our pints up in the Galaxy bar which has a 360 degreee panoramic view of Dublin. It was crowded, but enjoyable. Phil tried to book the Kilmanheim Gaol tickets from here as we had planned to go straight there, however they were sold out for today. We booked them for tomorrow instead.

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At 10:00 am official tasters taste Guinness to make sure it meets their standards. Phil thinks that that could be a great job.

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Phil enjoying his pint of Guinness in the Galaxy Bar.

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Guinness getting trucked out around Dublin.

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The Guinness area.

We decided to walk along the River Liffey and go to the walking tour included in our 48 hour ticket. We had a quick bite to eat on the way and met the tour guides at 3:00 pm. It turns out that it’s a free walking tour and you pay the guide in tips at the end, so it was free anyway! That being said, our tour guide was James and he was amazing. We were staying on the north side and were mainly looking at the history around the 1916 uprising so Phil was well chuffed – as this was exactly what he wanted to learn about.

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Looking to the South side of Dublin across the River Liffey

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A view of the Ha’Penny Bridge across the Liffey

The tour was the perfect combination of history and information about Dublin, from a Dubliner’s perspective. We really enjoyed this tour and especially James who made it all come to life for us.

The tour continued past the Rotunda Hospital, the Garden of Remembrance, the spire, the Abbey Theatre and then at a monument to Connolly.

After the tour, we found a souvenir shop that seemed to have a lot of souvenirs that we were interested in, so we bought a t-shirt each and some other souvenirs. After all of this walking, we were exhausted, so we stopped for a drink on the way back to Megan and Paul’s. They weren’t going to be home until 7:30, so there was no rush. We stopped at Bailey’s Cafe and Bar. Phil had 2 Irish Coffee’s and I had a hot chocolate. It was just perfect.

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Phil’s delicious Irish coffee

When we got home, we then went out for dinner to one of Megan and Paul’s local restaurants. After a lovely dinner, we then went out to see some Tweedle dee music (as Megan calls it – essentially traditional Irish music). It was amazing. The entire atmosphere was something we had never experienced before. It was also the first time that we got to see the city in the dark, as the sun doesn’t set until after 10 pm. We headed home and were exhausted. When we checked our step counter, we had walked over 18 km! No wonder we were exhausted!

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Some of the musicians who were playing and singing traditional Irish music at O’Donogue’s – the Irish pub.

We both slept well that night!

 

 

 

Ireland – Dublin

Well after an amazing sleep and sleep in, we had a beautiful breakfast cooked by Paul today. We decided to head in to Dublin and explore some more, now that we weren’t affected by jet lag. We headed off to walk through St Stephen’s Green, which again was filled with people enjoying the beautiful warm temperatures and sunny weather. Today the temperature was 21 degrees Celsius, although it felt much warmer in the sunshine.

We headed into the shopping area where Phil got a sim for his mobile and I checked out the Disney store. We had decided to go on the Hop On Hop Off bus and luckily, the next bus was due in 5 minutes, so we jumped on. Phil always likes sitting at the top of these buses, in the open air, luckily it was such a nice day. We went on the red route and got to see more of Dublin, including the Liffey River.

Phil is very interested in the history of Dublin and Ireland, especially the uprising in 1916, where the Irish declared their independence from England. After going around the red route and seeing the Guinness area, the Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, South Dublin, Trinity College and Kilmainham Gaol, we were able to decide which attractions to go back to tomorrow. The Dublin Castle, Guinness Storehouse, Walking Tour and Kilmainham Gaol. We’d also like to go on the blue route, which goes further out of Dublin.

After doing the loop on the bus, we headed up Grafton Street, which is a shopping area and closed to traffic, to get some lunch. (It was after 2:00 pm by this time). We found a cafe called Bewley’s which had some seats overlooking the street in their upstairs dining area. We ordered a croque monsieur each and some scones. After our late lunch, we went shopping because I wanted to get a lightweight cardigan. We went into Marks and Spencers and found what I was looking for.

We had a look in some souvenir shops and were trying to decide what to get. Still thinking about it though. We headed home to Megan and Paul’s as we are having another beautiful dinner there tonight. Phil got the drone out and took some photos of Megan’s neighbourhood. A great day out in Dublin, finishing off with a lovely meal with family. A brilliant day!

Bangkok and Ireland

We ended up finding a restaurant in the shopping centre next door, the MBK centre, and found a restaurant with a lot of local people, so we thought we would give it a try. It was interesting and ok, but we wouldn’t rush back there again.

After a very lazy start to our first Friday, we had a leisurely and delicious breakfast at the buffet in the hotel. We then went back up to our room to attempt to resort the bags to reorganise the weight.

We then headed into the MBK Centre for some shopping. One scarf and some hair accessories were the limit as the bags were already at limit due to the items I’m taking over for my sister.

We had a lovely time looking around and I was spoilt for choice in terms of scarves and hair clips. I eventually made a decision and we ended up at Swenson’s for some ice-cream. When Chris, Ryan and I were in Thailand in January 2006, the boys loved going over to Swensons for dessert after dinner. Phil was quite impressed by the banana split he ordered as well. We walked back to the hotel a different way and discovered a Meat eats Fest so Phil was disappointed that he couldn’t eat another bite. Phil needed his sunglasses, so he raced back to the hotel to get them. Then we explored a ‘night market’ across the road (although it was afternoon). Phil found this place in there that was doing a foot massage for 150 Thai Baht for 30 minutes. That’s a whole $6. He was definitely in for that. It looked painful from where I was sitting, but he enjoyed it and said that his foot felt heaps better for it.

We decided to relax back at the hotel, as we had our flight to Europe on Friday night, leaving Bangkok at 11:00 pm. We got ourselves sorted, and packed the bags. We decided to get an early dinner and found another place in the MBK centre – Chicken BonChon. Again going with a place that had a lot of local people. This was amazing and we were both so glad we tried it.

We then went back to the hotel to collect our bags and meet our transfer to the airport. We left the hotel at 7:00 pm to allow for traffic for an hour! It was chaotic. There was a bus broken down out near the airport and the traffic was banked back for kilometres. There were 3 lanes of traffic, however our intrepid driver decided to make the breakdown lane another lane of traffic. We got to the airport and checked in, with no problems at all. After all that hassle, they didn’t even weigh the cabin bags! We made it to our gate and got onto the very full Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt.

We were so tired (and still full from dinner) that essentially we went straight to sleep – well Phil did – snoring away. I dozed. I woke up thinking that I hadn’t slept for very long and yet we were five hours into the flight. Phil was still sleeping / with the occasional loud snore. I found it very hard to go back to sleep as I couldn’t get comfortable at all. We have both agreed that we won’t be doing an overnight economy fare again. We arrived in Frankfurt without a hitch. The airport is massive. You could imagine our surprise when we were following directions to our gate for the connecting flight to Dublin when we found ourselves at a train station to get to the other hub. We then went through security screening again and we clearly got onto the wrong line – the slow line.

We got through and found our gate. The plane was parked on the tarmac right near the plane that we had just gotten off. We had no idea why we had to go so far to end up where we started. It makes sense to someone I guess. The flight was uneventful and 1 hour and 40 minutes later we landed in Dublin. We eventually got through immigration (only 1 line for the Non EU passports) and collected our bags. We found a cab and made our way to Megan’s. It was so fabulous to see her and Paul again. Megan’s house is amazing and very stylish.

After we had given her the things that we had brought (the records survived intact – thankfully), we ended up watching the Australia vs Ireland Rugby Union match. Megan, Phil and I were all happy with the result – not so much Paul (Australia won 18 – 9). We had some lovely lunch that Megan and Paul made us – fried rice. Phil and I decided to go for a walk into Dublin. Paul pointed us in the direction of a very scenic walk and off we went.

It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of people were sitting on the banks of the canal and on the grass in St Stephen’s Green enjoying the fabulous weather. We walked down the canal and then headed off into Dublin. We went to Dublin Castle, as we wanted to know where it was so we could explore it when we have more time (it was after 3:30 pm). We then decided to find St Stephen’s Green, as it was on our way back to Megan’s. As we were walking through the streets of Dublin we saw some amazing buildings that looked really pretty in the sunshine. We found St Stephens Green and thought that it was so pretty, with people out picnicking, playing games or just strolling around the gardens.

We were both really tired though and decided to head home. We got back to Megan and Paul’s about 4:30 and had a chat with both of them. Paul cooked a beautiful dinner on the bar-b-que, which we had early – about 6:30 pm as jet lag was starting to take its toll (along with my rotten cold which I still haven’t shaken). I made it to 8:30 and headed to bed, Phil not long after me.

We really enjoyed our first day in the city of Dublin and spending time with Megan and Paul. We can’t wait to explore this city further and spend more time with my sister and her husband.

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